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Progress Seen In Sudan, South Sudan Talks

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir (r.) hugs his Sudanese counterpart Omar al Bashir as he arrives at Juba airport on Friday, April 12, 2013. The Sudanese president was visiting South Sudan for the first time since it split from Sudan in 2011.

The presidents of Sudan and South Sudan have agreed to a resumption of oil exports and border trade.

Moving to break an impasse that has kept their nations at loggerheads for months, the presidents of Sudan and South Sudan have agreed to a resumption of oil exports and border trade. The United States welcomes the settlement as one that promises mutually beneficial arrangements that promote the best interests of both nations.

Progress Seen In Sudan, South Sudan Talks
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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir traveled to South Sudan April 12 for the first time since the south gained independence in 2011. Key issues were left unresolved after the split, sparking a long-running dispute over untangling their oil industries.

The Sudanese briefly detained four tankers in its key seaport carrying South Sudan crude over transit fees it said were owed. In retaliation for the seizure and for Sudan’s confiscation of Southern oil being shipped through northern pipelines, South Sudan shut down all its oil production. With oil revenues critical to the economies of both nations, the dispute, along with insurgencies that continued after independence, threatened peace and stability in the entire region.

In their discussions, the leaders agreed that 10 border points are to be opened and there will be free movement of people and goods through them. They will continue discussions on another major sticking point, the political status of the border Abyei region, as well as the presence of the rebel groups operating in the two nations.

Bashir said his visit signals the beginning of normalized relations and a strategic partnership between the two countries. The United States is encouraged that the two leaders are working closely together to fully implement previous agreements. We support two viable states at peace internally and with one another. Achieving immediate, practical gains for both peoples by implementing the border trade and “four freedoms” provisions of those agreements will further that process.